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Full text of "NightRider"

397

fer fair. The. sun a-bearen down in the field." He took his
knife from his pocket, opened the heavy blade, and began,
with deliberation, to trim a stick which he found lying there
before him. " In the field," he repeated, appearing to study
the suck. " But I reckin you didn't know, hit cool up here
lak hit is." He turned his dark, acrimonious glance upon
Mr. Munn, then resumed his whittling. Mr. Munn said
nothing.

"I ain't a man to shun and shirk," Sylvestus said. "No
man kin say hit. Anything air man kin do, I kin do. And
will do. But a man's got a right to know he don't sweat fer
nuthen. Hit'll be a drout, and sweat fer nuthen." He
paused, studying the stick. " A drout," he repeated.

" It's too early to tell," Mr. Munn rejoined.

" I kin tell. Ever time, I kin tell 1" He swung toward Mr,
Munn resentfully. " I seen a blade of com today, yaller, and
hit long a-fore tossellen time. Hit's a curse come on the land,
the way folks been revellen and carryen on." He rose abruptly
from his squatting position, and flung the stick into the
spring. " Sweat fer nuthen," he uttered.

He stood there indecisively, the rigidity seeming to go
from his body. He clicked the knife blade shut. " I didn't
mean nuthen," he said sullenly, not looking at Mr. Munn,
"about yore layen up here." Then he turned, and before
Mr. Munn could answer, plunged off down the trail.

That evening at supper Sylvestus had nothing to say to
anyone. He ate with his eyes fixed upon his plate, doggedly.
He did not join the others on the porch after supper, but
stayed in the kitchen. "A-readen," Willie Proudfit told
them. " He'll be a-readen past moon-set lak as not, if hit's a
spell come on him. Till they ain't no oil to the wick."

" One rnornen I found him," Adelle Proudfit said, speaking
quietly, " with his head a-layen on the table, in the kitchen.
And the oil plumb gone, and the wick burnt out, and him
asleep. He lifted up his head, real slow, and saicl to me:
*I slept, and Him in the Garden.' Lak a man might say
good mornen, and no difference to his voice."